Rural round-up

April 14, 2013

Zanda Award of agricultural leadership:

The Platinum Primary Producers Group (PPP) announced at its Brisbane conference they will establish an annual award in memory of Australian cattle icon Zanda McDonald.

McDonald was a founding member of the PPP Group, a forum where top agricultural leaders in dairy, sheep and beef industries from across Australasia unite to speak candidly about what is happening in agriculture.

PPP Group chairman and Wairarapa farmer Shane McManaway who established the PPP Group dedicated the conference to McDonald.

He said the Zanda McDonald Award for Excellence in Agriculture will select a winner from Australasia based on the qualities that McDonald possessed – leadership, courage, innovation, inspiration, and dedication and commitment to the agriculture industry. . .

Agriculture drives labour productivity since 2008 recession:

During 2008–11, labour productivity in the agriculture industry increased 3.4 percent a year, Statistics New Zealand said today. Agriculture was the main contributor to labour productivity in the measured sector, which increased 0.5 percent.

“Agriculture output has increased across the 2008 to 2011 period, showing a recovery from the severe drought of 2008,” national accounts manager Rachael Milicich said. “Throughout this period, labour inputs have shown little change, resulting in rising labour productivity for the industry.”

Other industries that made a significant contribution to labour productivity were finance and insurance services, up 2.7 percent, and information media and telecommunications, up 4.3 percent. . .

New appointment to NZ Meat Board:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has today announced the appointment of international trade specialist George Rutherford to the New Zealand Meat Board.

The 10-member Meat Board is a statutory body which works to get the best possible ongoing returns from New Zealand’s quota markets.

“Mr Rutherford has dedicated most of his 37-year career to furthering New Zealand’s agricultural trade interests. He has served extensively with the Ministry for Primary Industries and its predecessors.

“Mr Rutherford is a former lead negotiator for New Zealand at the World Trade Organisation, and has played a significant role in trade negotiations with China and the Asia Pacific Region. He has particular expertise on European Union issues, and in the resolution of trade disputes. . .

Co-op or company – dairy firms cover the range – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra’s not-so-little brother, Westland Milk, has no plans to substantially alter the co-operative model under which it operates, and it appears its farmer members like it that way.

Westland, one of New Zealand’s top 100 businesses with turnover of more than $530 million, processes about 4 per cent of the country’s dairy supply.

Since the advent of Trading Among Farmers (TAF), there’s been a trickle of Fonterra farmers – mostly from Canterbury – coming over to Westland. . .

Innovator plugs agri-tech careers – Ben Chapman-Smith:

Young people need to start considering New Zealand’s thriving but often overlooked agricultural technology sector as a viable, well-paid career option, says Waikato-based innovator Gallagher.

The animal management company has long been one of New Zealand’s most well-known brands among farmers and has ranked in the top 10 of the TIN100 survey of New Zealand’s leading technology companies for the past three years.

Currently celebrating its 75th year, the firm’s electric fence, animal weighing, and electronic identification systems can be found on farms all over the world.

Yet many Kiwis failed to recognise the importance of agri-tech to the national economy, both as a creator of jobs and an improver of farm efficiency, said Matt Macfie, international business development manager. . .

Big dry shows risk of investing in agriculture – Iona McCarthy:

Capital growth has always been an important factor in successful dairy farm investment, but it would be unwise for investors to assume land prices always go up.

The drought ravaging many parts of the country is just one example of the business risks farmers need to consider when buying dairy land.

Accounting for such risks is essential and purchase decisions should really be made on the ability of the farm to generate an income stream, rather than a reliance on future capital growth. . .


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